Want to be healthy? Then be nice.
According to a new study, positive emotions can make you healthier.
"Positive emotions, positive social connections, and physical health influence one another," the study’s authors wrote.
Researchers determined the effect of positive emotions on physical health by randomly assigning study participants to one of two groups.
One group was assigned to attend loving-kindness meditation classes, the other was put on a waiting list.
The participants in the loving-kindness class were asked to sit and think compassionately about others.
‘It’s kind of softening your own heart to be more open to others,’ the study’s lead author Barbara Fredrickson told Time Healthland.
Compared to the group on the waiting list, the meditation group saw an increase in positive emotions, which in turn improved physical health.
‘The biggest news is that we’re able to change something physical about people’s health by increasing their daily diet of positive emotion,” Fredrickson told Time Healthland. "And that helps us get at a long standing mystery of how our emotional and social experience affects our physical health."
Want to bring more kindness into your daily life?
Another recent study, published in the journal Psychological Science, shows that meditation can make people more compassionate.
So if being nice can make you healthier, and meditation makes you nice, then that seems like a good place to start!
-Katharine Watts, associate web editor